Percutaneous Discectomy in Las Vegas and Henderson NV

Percutaneous discectomy, also called nucleoplasty, is a minimally invasive procedure used to repair a herniated disc. Many people undergo this simple surgery for relief of chronic back pain and nerve pain associated with a herniated disc.

What is a herniated disc?

The inner gel-like material (nucleus) can push through the tough, fibrous external layer (annulus). When this occurs, it is referred to as a herniated disc. One of the most common causes of chronic back pain is disc herniated, due to pressure and spinal nerve irritation. When nerve compression occurs, it puts pressure on the nerves that supply the lower extremities. This results in leg symptoms, called radiculopathy.

How common is back pain in the U.S.?

Back pain will affect just about everyone at some point during the lifespan. According to up-to-date statistics, approximately 2% of America’s workforce file a compensation claim due to back pain each year.

Why is the percutaneous discectomy done?

The percutaneous discectomy is a procedure done to remove or shrink the material surrounding a herniated disc. Elimination of this material will relieve pressure, inflammation, and nerve-related pain. After the material is removed, there is less pressure on the surrounding nerves.

How do I prepare for the percutaneous discectomy procedure?

The doctor will want to review your medications and discuss which ones must be held before the procedure. In addition, you will need to have someone drive you home since a mild sedative is given. When you arrive at the pain management facility, a nurse will discuss the procedure risks and benefits and ask you to sign a consent form. After you change into a gown, a nurse places an IV catheter in your arm to administer necessary fluids and medications.

What happens during the percutaneous discectomy procedure?

The percutaneous discectomy takes around 30 minutes to perform. The doctor will position you on your stomach, and cleans the skin with an antiseptic solution. An anesthetic is used to numb the area, and a small incision is made over the herniated disc region. A surgical needle is inserted into the spinal column, and the extra material is removed using radiofrequency energy. This will also decrease the size of the disc protrusion. Once this is done, the incision is closed with stitches, and a bandages is applied over the site.

What should I expect after the procedure?

A nurse will monitor your condition for around 30 minutes. As the local anesthetic wears off, you may experiences soreness and tenderness at the incision site. The back region will be slightly painful for 24-48 hours, but ice packs can be applied for 20-minute intervals throughout the day. We recommend that you rest for 1-2 days, and gradually return to regular activities. Until sutures are removed, do not soak in a tub or pool.

What complications and risks are associated with the discectomy procedure?

Because the percutaneous discectomy is a minimally invasive procedure, there are a few complications to consider. While rare, these include nerve damage, bleeding, infection, and blood vessel injury.

Does the percutaneous discectomy work?

According to clinical research studies, the percutaneous discectomy has an 80% success rate. Because the procedure removes material that presses on spinal nerves, the pain is significantly reduced after surgery. This minimally invasive technique is excellent for people who are not candidates for spinal surgery. Allergic reaction rarely occurs, but notify the doctor beforehand if you are allergic to latex, alcohol, betadine, or sedatives.


Karasek M & Bogduk N (2000). Twelve-month follow-up of a controlled trial on intradiscal thermal anuloplasty for back pain due to internal disc disruption. Spine, 25:2601-2607.

Singh V & Derby R (2006). Percutaneous lumbar disc decompression. Pain Physician, 9:139-146.

Yorimitsu E, Chiba K, Toyama Y, et al. (2001). Long-term outcomes of standard discectomy for lumbar disc herniation: a follow-up study of more than 10 years. Spine, 26:652-7.